Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Man in 2B

by Elizabeth Palmer from the September 9, 2013 issue

Tagline: Tanya had gotten a new job in a new town. Now, what she needed was a new friend...

In a Nutshell: Tanya likes her neighbor, but assumes he's married because he always seems to be in the company of this woman, but when a piece of his mail gets mixed with hers, she finds out the woman is his sister, who as been visiting. Jamie is a photographer and Tanya's new job is at the art museum. It's a match made in heaven--with a little help from the sister.

Observations: Palmer has had many stories published by Woman's World and this demonstrates why. There are a lot of small things that help elevate the story.

This story combines two story tropes nicely--the misidentified person (usually a woman the heroine assumes is a love interest but who in reality is a sister, cousin, co-worker, etc.) and the matchmaker. That's a simple way to branch out from the tried and true story plots that appear in the magazine.

I liked the hero's sense of humor and how this joke shows he and his sister have a great relationship:

"I've been meaning to welcome you to the building, but Lori's been running me ragged. I'm glad she's finally leaving."

"Ha," Lori said. "He'll miss me when I'm gone."

The conversation introduced the thing they have in common very naturally and the fact that there is a thing in common helps the reader believe they have a chance at happiness.

The author also talked about Tanya needing a manicure and pedicure early in the story and then touched on it again near the end, a nice way of making the story feel more cohesive.

Lastly, I wanted you to take note of the deft transition to show the passage of time.

"Tanya sit. Let's talk while I finish packing."

"How do you take your coffee?" Jamie asked her.

Soon she was sipping coffee and answering Jamie and Lori's barrrage of questions. 

Because the word count is so small, you have to move your plot along briskly. This sentence gets the reader past the making and serving of the coffee and whatever small talk occurred during that. Oh, also, we skip Jamie even asking her if she'd like some coffee in the first place. No one wants to read small talk. We want to get to the interesting part!

Photo by SparkCBC (cc)

14 comments:

Diane said...

Betsi's stories are such a joy to read. Johnene thinks so too!

Pat said...

I wait for Betsi's stories and they never disappoint. Loved this one.

Jody E. Lebel said...

This story was smoothly written and moved along well. The dialogue was fresh and modern. I loved that the sister purposely mixed up the mail to fix up her brother. I didn't really say but I bet she knew it was an art gallery invite. The sister sounds like she would be a great friend. I'm almost sorry to see her go. So Betsi gave us three characters in this short piece but made us like and care about all of them. Nice job.

Jody E. Lebel said...

opps..."it didn't really say" I wish we could edit these after we hit send...

Chris said...

Neat little story, Betsi, tailor made for WW. Jody's right, they were characters you liked and cared about and that's quite something in such a short story.

Mary Hicks said...

I enjoyed this story too! I thought the writer got some depth, which is hard in a short story. Like the plot twist.

majbooks said...

I always love Betsi's characters and this story hit the mark perfectly! A new take on what could have been a ho-hum story! The author made it fun to read the banter between all the characters and it is believable and sweet!
--Mary Ann

TracieB said...

Is there a way to get this story? I went to the store to buy the magazine and the next week's issue was already out.

Betsi said...

Thanks, everyone! I wasn't sure about this story, but it looks like it was a hit. When I had the idea, other people said "not another mixed-up mail story!" But as I was writing it, my characters took over and Lori decided to play matchmaker. Chris suggested the wink at the end to make that more clear, so thank you again, Chris!

Kate, you do such a great job with your blog. Your analysis points out some things I wasn't even aware I was doing. I don't always try to give the h and h something in common, but you're right, it's key to believing in the "happily ever after." As for that transition, it took a lot of work to get it just right. I HATE transitions . . . and endings! I was happy to have something for the h and h to do other than go out to dinner.

Tracie, if you leave your e-mail address, I'll send you a scan of the story.

Mary Jo said...

Betsi, a nice little story and you do have the WW style nailed neatly to the wall. We could all learn from you.

How is your health now? I think you were having quite a siege a while back. I hope that is all behind you.

Betsi said...

Thanks, Mary Jo. I get plenty of rejections -- sometimes I can't believe she didn't buy a "perfect" story, other times I wonder what I was thinking when I sent one out!

I'm mostly recovered from my last surgery 3 months ago, but it's been a bumpy road. Just last night I was in the ER having a CT scan to make sure I wasn't having a recurrence of diverticulitis. I'm pretty sure I glow in the dark after all the scans I've had. :-(

Mary Jo said...

Ah, Betsi,tummy troubles are the pits. Don't you just want to stop eating ANYTHING? It sounds like you must be on a first name basis with the people in the ER. Okay, glow away.

At least your stories are sunny side up and no one would guess that there are so many bumps in your road.

TracieB said...

Betsi, my e-mail address is tbreiter@yahoo.com. Thanks.

Tamara said...

Jody, I forgot to comment about something you mentioned: the breaks in the stories. I put them in when I am designating the passing of time or scene. But, I've noticed that in some of the stories -- the mysteries mostly -- there are breaks and then those big letters that you see at the beginning of stories and articles in all publications, when there is no span of time. They appear in the unlikeliest places, which I guess Johnene engineers, but I wonder why, especially since they are in need of space. Has anyone else noticed them?